Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE INTERVIEW

UN warns of 'conspiracy of complacency' in fighting HIV/AIDS

Read more

FRENCH CONNECTIONS

Champions du monde! What Les Bleus' World Cup win means for France

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

'Nation-state' bill sparks controversy in Israel

Read more

FOCUS

Young women in China go under the knife to improve job prospects

Read more

ENCORE!

Film show: Why we love 'Ant-man and the Wasp'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Brussels to slap $5 billion fine on Google

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Eurogroup chief Centeno: 'We need to put an end to what seems to be a trade war in the making'

Read more

ENCORE!

Gender questions take centre stage at Avignon’s theatre festival

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Mandela commemorations: Barack Obama honours Madiba's legacy

Read more

Asia-pacific

Indian army battles deadly flooding in Chennai

© AFP | A residential area in the southern Indian city of Chennai that was flooded after heavy rains on November 18, 2015.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2015-12-03

Floods that have taken hundreds of lives in Chennai, India receded briefly on Thursday, giving rescue teams a chance to evacuate thousands of residents stranded after the heaviest rains the southern city has seen in over a century.

Floods and incessant rainfall cut off more than three million people from basic services and hampered rescue efforts by the army, which has so far evacuated 18,000 people from rooftops and outlying villages.

City authorities were deploying bulldozers and bags of concrete to repair collapsed roads, while several bridges were under water as urban lakes in the low-lying coastal city of six million overflowed.

Train services and flights to Chennai, capital of the southern state of Tamil Nadu, remain cancelled and the navy has pressed fishing boats into service to evacuate people from the worst-hit suburbs to temples, schools and wedding halls.

A senior federal official said more than 700 people had been critically injured and were rushed to government hospitals by paramilitary forces.

“We want to do everything but the problem is beyond our control. The airport is flooded, train networks have collapsed and the weather is still not conducive,” home ministry spokesman K.S. Dhatwalia said in New Delhi.

Dhatwalia said the priority was to repair phone networks, distribute drinking water, medicines, food for infants and prevent the spread of water-borne diseases. Many firefighters from around Tamil Nadu have been pressed into service.

But new flooding problems continue to remain a concern with additional rainfall of 100-200 mm (4-8 inches) predicted from Thursday through Sunday.

In a 24-hour burst  – the strongest in more than a century  – 345 mm (14 inches) fell on parts of Chennai. As ground floor dwellings were flooded, residents sought shelter with upstairs neighbours.

Cultural activist V.R. Devika, 61, said many people were offering free accommodation and home cooking via social media.

“People are giving out food. Those with big vehicles are driving around rescuing people,” she said by telephone.

Army officials in New Delhi said there were cases of residents turning their wrath on rescue teams, accusing them of failing to help.

Perumal, who drives a rented auto rickshaw, said the owners had taken the vehicle away and would return it only when the rain stopped. He said officials from different political parties had visited the area but done little to help.

“They write and they go, but they haven’t come back or helped us,” said Perumal, who gave only one name.

(REUTERS)

Date created : 2015-12-03

  • COP21

    India searches for right energy mix at COP21 climate talks

    Read more

  • INDIA

    Hundreds die as heat wave bakes parts of India

    Read more

  • PAKISTAN

    Pakistan, India and Afghanistan rocked by deadly earthquake

    Read more

COMMENT(S)